What is Syphilis?


what is syphilis

what is syphilis

Very few people know that Syphilis can be more destructive than HIV.

It is no ordinary STD. It can be called the mother of all STDs. Though Gonorrhea  can contest for the position, yet I consider syphilis to be the root of all STDs, because it spares no area or organ in the human body.

This may sound very unscientific to many because every STD has its unique bacteria or virus, but there are other factors which makes these STDs are very similar. These micro-organisms not only replicate in human body but also create a susceptibility for future infections. The first infection of a STD renders the individual very susceptible to other venereal diseases. So, other than the susceptibility it causes, following are the causes for such a consideration.

The first reason for such a consideration is that  Syphilis is very very old. Throughout the history of the human race, you can find the references to the presence of syphilis. Some of the cases of leprosy or lepra were actually Syphilis in its tertiary stage but misdiagnosed.

However, the primary reason for such a consideration is that syphilis is very destructive. The extent to which syphilis can destroy human body is unimaginable for a common man. It can affect soft tissues, bones, teeth, skin, and vital organs like brain, eyes, liver, and almost any organ. It can completely destroy, deform, and disfigure the man body over time. It can destroy a human being physically as well as mentally. The symptoms of all other STDs can be found in a vast array of symptoms of syphilis.

The third reason is syphilis is caused by bacteria. The bacteria are primitive hence older than the evolution of viruses. The primitiveness of this disease confirms it is too old. The diseases caused by the virus are complicated and sophisticated, hence latest in origin. On the other hand, diseases caused by bacteria are comparatively simple and primitive. Probably, this simple STD has evolved with time to give rise to complicated viruses such as HIV and HSV.

Syphilis bacteria

Syphilis bacteria morphology

The cause of infection of this STD is a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. This bacteria is a spirochete. This s spiral shaped. This shape helps it to be highly mobile.

It can attack the human cells from both the sides of his long body. It has a head like structures at both ends.  Next to that is the insertion point that helps in attacking the cell membrane and penetrate it. The “axial filaments” help it in locomotion. It has bulbous growths at the outer side which is called the “balloon body.” The inner side of the coil is called the “intestinal mesosome” and the outside is call the “laminated mesosome.” The laminated mesosome is for its own protection from outside attacks on it. This is, though primitive, a well-developed bacterium.

How syphilis attacks us

The most common way of syphilis infection is intimate sexual contact, either natural or unnatural. This includes vaginal, oral or anal sex. It can also be passed to a person through prolonged physical contact with an infected person. Prolonged kissing with an infected person is no exception.

Other possible causes of contacting syphilis are sharing infected needles or infected sex toys with an infected person. Infected blood transfusions can be a direct cause of infections too.

However, that’s not the only one. An infected mother invariably passes it to her child. Such children are born with the disease. This is called congenital or neonatal  Syphilis. If the state of the mother is very advanced, say she has advanced to tertiary Syphilis state, then the child may be stillborn or if alive, can come with severe health problems. Such children have a very short lifespan and may die shortly after labor.

Syphilis is a highly contagious disease, but it needs direct contact. It can never propagate from a donor to a victim t survive for long without a host, it cannot propagate by sharing toilets, bathtubs, clothing, and utensils.

How common is it?

The number of reported cases of syphilis has risen substantially in the U.S.A in the past decade. There has been a regular increase in the number of cases, but they are considerably less in comparison to a number of cases of HIV. Men who have sex with men are very prone to this infection.

It is seen that people with this infection have some common complications. They are very prone to HIV, at least three to five times more in comparison to people who are clean. The cause for this is that the genital sores/chancres caused by syphilis can further crack and bleed during an intercourse. This open wound makes it easier for the HIV virus  to enter the blood easily during any sort of sexual activity.

If somebody contacts both HIV and syphilis, it can be really serious, because syphilis can progress much more rapidly under such conditions.

Preventing syphilis

The surest way to beat a syphilis infection is to say “NO” to form of sexual contact. Otherwise one can choose to have sexual contact with a partner who is clean and remains faithful thereafter.

One can minimize the risk of contracting any other sexually transmitted diseases by sticking to the following time-tested practices:

  • Use a male/female condom during sex
  • Use a dental dam, generally a square of plastic, during kissing or oral sex
  • Avoid sex toys or needles used by others

Best way to get rid of this killer STD is to detect it early by STD testing, and then go for appropriate treatment. Otherwise, it hides itself so you don’t feel the need to pay attention. It uses this time to attack and destroy those areas of the body first that it can access easily. It’s like a dangerous enemy who keeps bugging your home when you look elsewhere. When it reaches the “secondary stage,” it manifests again with some acute symptoms, but by then it becomes difficult to annihilate.

It keeps your attention away by imitating other diseases and for most of the time, it keeps you confused. What makes it the deadliest of all STDs is that it makes permanent changes to your body and your major organs; even your brain is not spared. It doesn’t stop till its victim lies dead.

Syphilis is neither difficult to diagnose nor cure. You can a get a  Home Syphilis Test Kit and get a diagnosis in about as quickly as 15 to 20 minutes. After a conclusive diagnosis, you can consult a doctor to start your treatment.  You have to get early antibiotic treatment.



christopher columbus

“Those who overlook History are condemned to repeat it.”  Anonymous

Many fantastic things have been said about the importance of history. We agree with some and disagree with the rest, but there is this one thing we all agree with– history repeats itself. So, if we want to deal with this insidious killer called Syphilis conclusively, then we must know about its history.

Syphilis is very old, almost ancient. How old, how ancient?

It’s very difficult to say. Scientists have traced its presence to an era as old as 1400 AD, but they too agree that that’s the not the exact period. Its exact place of origin and time is almost impossible to ascertain. It’s not sure that it existed as early as that time but that’s not the period it originated.

Maybe it was there with the human race forever.

What is Syphilis?

It’s a dreadful “Sexually Transmitted Disease.”   Its impact on any healthy individual, given the required time, is horrifying.

It can eat away your tissues, bones, teeth, and deform all important organs. It can affect the heart, brain, and complete viscera. In short, no organs and no part of the body is free from its onslaught. It can deform a beautiful/handsome individual into a horrifying wretch.

Body parts will be eaten away or fall off as a foul-smelling excretion. It can bring a shameful look and a painful death.

Excavations from ancient tombs illustrate that skulls have been eaten away at orifices and on surfaces. Bones from other parts of the body have been affected too. They were either eaten away or deformed, or both. These are classic cases because this disease was not understood then, so they hardly had any effective treatment method. At present, such cases are very rare, because we are better prepared to face Syphilis now than at that time.

How Syphilis was named

This disease was considered to be carried by foreign sailors and soldiers to the local prostitutes during their frequent sexual contacts. Before the term “Syphilis” was coined for this dreadful STD, it was known as the “The French Disease” in Germany, Italy, and Poland. Alternatively, the French used the characteristic spite to call it the  “Italian disease.” In fact, people use all their racial and political spite and named this disease after their enemies.

The Christian disease” and The Polish disease.” Some, in the medical community in the 16th century, called it the “Great Pox” to primarily differentiate it from Smallpox. But, just before that, in 1530, something happened that changed all these names forever.

An Italian physician-poet called Girolamo Fracastoro wrote a religious poem in Latin. This was called “Syphilis sive morbus gallicus” meaning “Syphilis or The French Disease.” The poem was written to prove that this disease came to humans as a punishment from the Gods, especially Apollo. The leading character of the poem was named Syphilus who was the first character to get the disease as a punishment from God Apollo.

Later on, he derived the name “Syphilis” from his poem and used in his new book “On Contagious Diseases.”

The Two Hypotheses about  its origin

The origin of Syphilis is yet to be established. There had been both efforts and denials to prove the exact source from where it originated.

Syphilis was present among the local people of America in the pre-Columbian era. There is no second opinion about that.  Anthropologists and historians agree upon this fact. However, it’s not very clear whether this disease was present elsewhere in the world.

The Europeans, at least some, strongly believe that it’s Christopher Columbus who brought the first virus to Europe. Basing on that perception there are at least two hypotheses regarding the origin of Syphilis.

1. The Columbian theory or hypothesis

This hypothesis is based upon the belief that Columbus and his crewmen brought the first virus to Europe and subsequently to the rest of the world. The timing of  Columbus’s voyages to the Americas helps in proving this theory because it occurred three years before the syphilis outbreak of 1494 at Naples.

Kristin Harper, a Health and Society Scholar at Columbia University, New York is at the forefront of this hypothesis. It’s an irony that somebody at the Columbia University holds Columbus responsible for bringing this dreadful disease to the world.

Molly K. Zuckerman and George Armelagos who hold similar views co-authored several reports with Harper. They contest the pre-Columbian hypothesis with the fact that the cases reported to be present in Europe before the arrival of Columbus in the Americas are not true cases of Syphilis.

2. The pre-Columbian theory or hypothesis

This hypothesis stands on the belief that Syphilis existed well before Christopher Columbus visited America, even centuries before he took birth.

This hypothesis holds ground on the finding of skeletal remains at certain excavation sites in Italy which shows bone degeneration similar to the effects of tertiary Syphilis. There’s another fact — Hippocrates, the classical Greek doctor, described the symptoms of tertiary Syphilis in its original form.

Anthropologists and historians claim that cases of leprosy in medieval Europe were wrongly diagnosed. They were actually cases of tertiary Syphilis.

Some famous people linked to syphilis:

Charles VIII of France
Adolf Hitler
Benito Mussolini
Friedrich Nietzsche
Vladimir Lenin
Henry VIII Al Capone
Artist Paul Gauguin
Artist Eduardo Manet
Russian author Leo Tolstoy